How baby Max made Mac OS X on Intel possible

Karen Haslam
12 June, 2012
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The wife of an Apple engineer has revealed how her husband got OS X ready for Intel, claiming that the project only existed because “a self-demoted engineer wanted his son Max to be able to live closer to Max’s grandparents”.

In 2000, after 13 years working at Apple, John Scheinberg wanted to relocate to the East Coast of America and eventually start to work from home. In order to make the move he had to find a project he could work on independently, rather than as part of a team, writes Kim Scheinberg.

The idea John Scheinberg had for an independent project was designing an Intel version of Mac OS X. In an email to his boss Joe Sokol, shared by Scheinberg’s wife Kim, he wrote: “I’d like to discuss the possibility of me becoming responsible for an Intel version of Mac OS X. Whether that’s just as an engineer, or as a project/technical lead with another person – whatever.” That email was sent on 20 June 2000.

In December 2002 Scheinberg was asked to justify his salary to his boss Sokol. When Sokol and Bertrand Serlet (who at that time was senior vice president of Software Engineering at Apple) saw the results of Scheinberg’s project – an Intel PC booted up in Mac OS X – they asked him how long it would take to get Mac OS X working on a Sony Vaio.

Just a few hours later and a brand new Vaio was running OS X, reports Kim Scheinberg.

The project was so top secret that Scheinberg’s home office had to be “reconfigured to meet Apple security standards,” notes Scheinberg’s wife in the article on Quora.

In addition, Serlet requested that Scheinberg’s wife should “forget everything I know,” and told Scheinberg he would “not be allowed to speak to me about it again until it is publicly announced.”

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